The feasibility of improving the captive environments of the Pongidae


  • Dr. J. F. Dahl

    Corresponding author
    1. Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center and Department of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta
    • Department of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322
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It is proposed that differences in fertility between naturally living great apes (Pongidae, Primates) and captive individuals are caused, in part, by an absence of naturalistic features in captive habitats. One component of probable importance in the natural habitat of pongids is temporal complexity. This is indicated by description of climate fluctuations over the pongid geographic range. In this paper the introduction of temporal complexity to captive habitats is proposed as an important modification that should contribute substantially to improved fertility of the captive great ape, in addition to greater utilization by researchers. Improvements of this sort are not economically feasible, however, if traditional building designs are utilized. Adoption of an enlightened perspective using appropriate, alternative technologies is a requirement for cost effective improvements. A first priority in such an approach is a revision of attitudes toward appropriate designs, and a collaboration between agencies responsible for establishing building costs and those for setting maintenance costs.